All posts filed under: Tort

Fake

Fake reviewer goes down for defamation

In Negative SEO and legal remedies I noted that one form of negative SEO is “where an unscrupulous person posts fake and negative reviews about a competitor’s goods or services with a view to lowering the competitor’s average popularity ranking and therefore reducing its page rank, e.g., in particular commercial services, for popularity-based searches.” When discussing various potential remedies for negative SEO, I noted that one potential remedy for fake reviews is a civil action for defamation. On 6 March 2015, the English High Court delivered its judgment in a case involving a fake review where the action that was successfully pursued against the wrongdoer was indeed defamation:  The Bussey Law Firm PC & Anor v Page [2015] EWHC 563. I thought I’d give a quick rundown on this case given its relevance to the negative SEO post. The claimants were a law firm and a particular lawyer within the firm who practises law in Colorado, United States. As the Court explained, someone posted a defamatory allegation on the lawyer’s Google Maps profile, alongside a …

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WordPress-related business brands: protect and do no harm

The significance of WordPress-related brands As I’ve noted in an earlier post, as WordPress has evolved and become more popular, more and more businesses have sprung up in what someone referred to the other day as “the WordPress marketplace”. In addition to Automattic, there are: theme shops: think Array, Elegant Themes, StudioPress, WooThemes, ThemeForest, Themezilla and (one of my minimalist favourites) Elmastudio, among countless others; plugin and app shops: think Rocketgenius’ Gravity Forms, Yoast’s WordPress SEO Premium, the impressive array of WPMU DEV plugins, iThemes’ BackupBuddy, Gravity Wiz, CodeCanyon, Conductor, Reactor by AppPresser, VelocityPage and Pippins Plugins (whose site, I’ve just noticed, has had a super redesign), again among many others; WordPress designers (too many to even start naming); WordPress coding shops: think WerkPress and Envato Studio; WordPress news sites: think WPTavern, again among others; WordPress business consultancy, support services and fora: think Chris Lema, Matt Report Pro, WP Elevation, Post Status Membership Club, WP Site Care and WP Curve; and WordPress security services (like Sucuri). All of these businesses have distinctive brands, the importance …

Storm-Troopers

Negative SEO and legal remedies

The negative SEO campaign against WP Site Care By now, many in the WordPress community will have heard of the negative SEO campaign against WP Site Care that Ryan Sullivan, its founder, described in Negative SEO: Destroying Businesses One Spammy Backlink at a Time. On this occasion, the negative SEO attack appears to have been caused by voluminous backlinks, including a “spike in unnatural links from lots of unsavory sources over the course of a few days” which, in turn, appears to have caused a plummet in Google rankings. Ryan explains that his company’s bottom line suffered a significant hit as a result of the lower traffic volumes to the site and that they were able to trace the backlink attack back to the source: someone within the WordPress community. He says: “They did everything through a third-party, an internet hitman of sorts, to try and cover their tracks, but they weren’t quite careful enough and we were able to uncover where everything started.” Ryan exercised considerable restraint in not naming any names when, it …

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Legal checks when building a content-driven WordPress website

Introduction Recently I’ve built two blogs (both running on WordPress of course). The first is this one and the second is a blog for a group of lawyers in the United Kingdom. The purpose of the second blog is to enable the lawyers to share their knowledge and thoughts on a particular area of practice with clients, potential clients and the wider legal community. As well as building the site, I also attended to the usual legal and related issues that arise with a content-driven website like a blog, just as I did for this site which is similar in many ways. I’ve done this sort of thing many times in the past, for myself, for colleagues and for clients. Each time I do it, I run through a range of legal and related checks in my mind that ought to be covered off. I thought it might be useful to document the checks for others building similar sites. The purpose of this post, then, is to do exactly that. The checklist covers the kinds …

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Why legal stuff matters

For some people, thinking about legal stuff may not be at the forefront of their minds when they’re developing, designing, launching or adding content to a WordPress website or developing and releasing a theme or plugin. I suspect it’s also not at the forefront of the minds of some people who launch commercial theme and plugin shops, release WordPress ebooks, produce WordPress podcasts, and so on. It’s easy to get caught in the moment and the excitement of developing, writing or releasing something new. I know what that’s like. Just as a lawyer building a website may pay little attention to something that a developer would consider crucial, so too can developers, designers, bloggers and entrepreneurs pay little attention to things that lawyers consider important if not crucial.  And, of course, in some cases people want to do what’s right or in their commercial interests but just don’t know what the relevant laws are or how they apply. The legal stuff does matter There are various reasons for sticking to the right side of the …